Fine Feathered Friends: Man and the Birds of the Delta
Apr 19, 2012 - Jun 17, 2012
Fine Feathered Friends—the second offering in the museum’s San Joaquin Roots Series—combines photographs, artifacts, bird specimens and artwork to tell the story of how man’s view of the birds of the Delta has evolved from a simple economic commodity to be exploited into a complex recreational and aesthetic resource requiring thoughtful management.
Throughout the autumn and early winter, the residents of Stockton and San Joaquin County have front row seats to one of Nature’s grandest spectacles—the arrival of ducks, geese, swans and other migratory birds who spend these months in California’s Great Central Valley.
region is situated in the heartland of the Pacific Flyway, one of four corridors in North America through which migratory birds travel from their summer breeding grounds in the north to warmer climates with the approach of winter and then back again in the spring. For thousands of years this exodus has been repeated, with untold numbers of avian visitors availing themselves of what once amounted to more than 4 million acres of marshes, lakes and other riparian habitats that stretched out along the Valley floor.
Unfortunately, throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries under-regulated hunting and the draining of 90% of the Valley’s wetlands (primarily for agriculture) contributed to a drastic decline in migratory bird populations and seriously jeopardized this annual wonder.
By the turn of the last century, however, growing concern over this impending ecological disaster resulted in legislation that provided various species with a measure of protection. As the 20th century progressed, government agencies such as the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish & Game, non-governmental organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and the California Waterfowl Association, private landowners and environmentalists—working independently and in concert—developed habitat preservation and restoration programs up and down the Central Valley.
Other groups, such as the San Joaquin Audubon Society and the Sandhill Crane Festival, have helped the general public better understand and appreciate the region’s unique avian resources.
Fine Feathered Friends is made possible by the Tuleburg Endowment, a permanently restricted endowment established to underwrite exhibitions that highlight the successes and unique qualities of our region.